The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has advised telecommunications consumers to prioritise data security while online to check the rising cases of phishing and electronic fraud.
Vishing or phishing refers to fraudulent phone calls from people who fake identities to access personal information and perpetrate crimes.
NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, who gave the advisory yesterday, also cautioned against disclosure of sensitive information to impostors on the net.
He said subscribers should equally be reticent about their personal lives on online platforms to avoid falling into wrong hands.
The regulator, which is empowered under the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 to promote and protect the interests of consumers, re-emphsized taciturn during online activities.
Checks by The Guardian showed that while there are about 147 million Internet users and some 80 million broadband subscription, there are however 64.17 per cent Facebook users.
Twitter has 17.3 per cent, Youtube, 2.98 per cent and Instagram, 2.11 per cent.
According to Statcounter GlobalStats, Africa has 83.38 per cent of Facebook users and three per cent for Twitter.
Speaking further, Adinde said Vishing is punishable under Section 32 of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act of 2015.
According to him, these increasingly popular incidents typically start with a phone call from fraudsters requesting the call receiver to perform a certain task to enable him or her (usually part of a wider network of syndicates) to swiftly takeover the social media account of an individual or group.
He added: “Consequently, the commission wishes to inform the general public that such calls and antics are initiated and carried out by unscrupulous persons, usually with the intent to defraud unsuspecting citizens and /or commit other heinous crimes. The commission has observed that most times, when a receiver of such calls acts as the caller directs, the Facebook or other social media accounts targeted by the caller would be taken over by such persons, who may then proceed as impostors, soliciting funds from and/or enticing friends of their victims into fraudulent business transactions in order to swindle them.”